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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Sep;21(8):1097-101.

Attitudes and perceptions regarding skin cancer and sun protection behaviour in an Irish population.

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Department of Dermatology, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Ireland.



Although people seem to be well educated on the harmful effects of the sun, they continue to intentionally expose themselves without adequate protection.


To ascertain baseline knowledge regarding skin cancer and review the sun protection behaviours in an Irish population and the effect of doctor-based education on these behaviours.


Two hundred participants were recruited for a questionnaire-based study on their perceptions regarding skin cancer and their sun protection behaviour. They were divided into two groups, with one group receiving doctor-based education following the initial survey, and a follow-up questionnaire was carried out within 3 months.


Ninety per cent of participants knew that sun exposure was the major risk factor for skin cancer, and 95% knew that sun beds were not a safe way to tan. Despite this, < 20% used regular sunscreen, and 30% had used or were currently using sun beds in order to tan.


Our study indicated that although the participants' knowledge of skin cancer and risk of sun exposure is high, their sun-protective attitudes were not influenced by education in the clinical setting.

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